(That almost came out “good monging”…not a propitious sign)
1. Diversity ethics: The concept that somehow there are sinister motives and undesirable results any time an occupation settles into a demographic mix that isn’t four-square with that of the general population is one more bit of ideological cant. In London, U.K, the mayor has decreed it a crisis that the population using bicycles is disproportionately white, and has said he is considering setting diversity targets for London’s cycling population to ensure that “progress was achieved.” I liked Amy Alkon’s disgusted reaction to this whole issue, as she asked how gender equality would be achieved in fields where women show little interest in participating for a variety of reasons, including a greater interest in a work-life balance. How is this artificial PC “diversity goal” going to be achieved, she asks…” Force women at gunpoint to become cardiologists, oil rig workers, and garbagepersons? Force men at gunpoint to become veterinarians and kindergarten teachers?”
Reader (and volunteer Ethics Alarms proof-reading czar) Pennagain just sent me an article about the relative lack of female movie critics (minority movie critics are also under-represented among Hispanics, blacks and Asians. (I would also bet that they are disproportionately gay, but the study discussed didn’t check that, apparently.) Now unlike, say, female “garbagepersons,” female movie critics predictably have a point of view that would make a substantive difference in film reviews, so I cannot brush aside this particular imbalance with “So what?” Instead I will ask, “What’s stopping them?” Anyone can be a movie critic now: all you need is a website, some dedication, and, one hopes, some understanding of film and culture. Now, being paid as a film critic is a little trickier.
Here is the Wikipedia entry on the New Yorker’s Pauline Kael, still perhaps the most famous U.S. film critic, whose long-lasting prominence, success and influence (I hated her reviews most of the time–overly political and biased, with whole genres she didn’t understand—“guy movies” like Westerns and horror films, that she sniffed at as beneath her) should have inspired more women to enter the field, but didn’t. I presume there is a reason for that, such as that spending your life watching multiple movies a day including many you wouldn’t be caught dead at if it wasn’t mandatory isn’t an attractive career choice, especially if you want a family.
2. From my sexual harassment files...I just rediscovered this, a sexual harassment case I discussed in program for a construction company in the 90’s. An attractive woman who worked in construction (Diversity!) was walking to work with a co-worker when some boor from an apartment window shouted at her, “Hey, show me your tits!” The women misheard the remark, and shouted back, “Sorry, I don’t have any kids!” Her colleague thought th exchange was hilarious, and told her what the guy really said, He also told everyone on the construction site about the incident, and the woman was pestered from then on with men smirking as they made comments like, “Hey, can I see pictures of your kids?” I hear you have two beautiful kids!” “Why don’t you let your kids out more?” “Boy, I bet you’re proud of those kids of yours.” The women tried to laugh it off, but the joke never died, even though she started telling everyone to knock it off. Finally, she complained to management, and was told that she was being silly and hyper-sensitive. She sued.
Was using the word “kids” in a coded joke creating a hostile work environment, or did the court find that since the language itself was inoffensive and not sex-related, it couldn’t be sexual harassment?
3. I’m sure I will have to write more about this, but…for now,it is sufficient to state that the anti-Trump mainstream media and pundit reaction to the Singapore summit shows such hostility and such blatant double standards that it is a self-damning exercise. I especially liked members of “The View” bleating that the President “wasn’t prepared” for the meeting with North Korea’s Boy Dictator. How the hell do they know what his preparation was? No President, and I mean no President, has ever had a summit with a foreign leader or negotiations with hostile nations treated in this kind of uniformly hostile fashion by the media. See, the country is supposed to be an his side, because it’s our side. FDR agreed to hand over Eastern Europe to enslavement under Stalin. Obama received nothing in exchange for re-opening U.S. relations with Cuba, and yet most of the mainstream media cheered. The MSN continued–has continued– to defend the Iran deal, even after multiple revelations of deception by the Obama Administration’
I think the “resistance” is creating support and sympathy for the President every day with such displays, to a degree that I would never have believed possible.
4. Restaurant ethics: Delegating unethical conduct is still unethical conduct. From the Times:
The Cheesecake Factory and a janitorial contractor have been found liable in a $4.57 million wage theft case involving hundreds of underpaid janitorial workers at eight California locations, the state’s Department of Industrial Relations said on Monday, sending a strong message to businesses that they are accountable for workplace violations — even if their workers are hired by contractors.
The janitors, who worked at Cheesecake Factory restaurants in Orange and San Diego Counties, started their shifts around midnight, worked until morning without proper periods for meals or rest breaks, and were not allowed to leave until kitchen managers conducted walk-throughs to review their work, the investigation found.
The walk-throughs, which led to additional tasks, resulted in each worker logging up to 10 hours of unpaid overtime each week, the Department of Industrial Relations said.
This sure looks like a common unethical phenomenon in organizations involving what I call “The Mission Impossible Instruction.” A company makes a demand of an employee or contractor that requires illegal or unethical conduct, but doesn’t specifically order the conduct. Underlying the instructions is the old disclaimer from the famous TV series: “As always, should you or any of your Force be caught or killed, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions.” This is signature significance for an unethical organizational culture.
I’m happy that the Cheesecake Factory didn’t get away with it, but I will guarantee that there is a lot more rot in that cheesecake.